Daily Reyd

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

One comment

  1. My letter to the editor re shmita:
    To the Editor;
    Perhaps a further clarification of the statement “Continuing the heter mehira is a topic of fierce rabbinic debate. Most of the major American kashrut authorities (including the OU, Star-K, CRC, Kof-K, and OK) do not accept the loophole; nor does the local Va’ad HaRabonim of MetroWest.” is in order. As I understand it the position of the OU, based on the original halachic ruling from Rabbi JB Soloveitchik zt”l (The Rav), was somewhat more nuanced. The Rav did not accept the heter mechirah at all (even in Israel) for reasons related to a family tradition seprate and apart from the usual debate. He also felt that there was no reason for Jews in the diaspora to rely on it since Israeli farmers could sell their produce to other countries (e.g. Europe). I don’t know what he would (or did) say about Israeli’s (or tourists) eating in Israel and I would love to know how he might take into account the fallacy of composition (one person doing something may not have a material effect, but a large group does).

    In any event I think it should be made clear (if it is true) that the Vaad does not take a position on the heter mechira itself in Israel (or perhaps no position on buying from Arab Palestinian sources instead of employing the heter mechira as well??).

    I realize that this does not impact at all the issue of buying locally but I do believe that it is an important philosophical point in the ongoing debate over the character of a Jewish State in pre-messianic times, especially given the ease of travel.

    As a side point, I often wonder how a writer determines when application of the law is determined to be a loophole and when not? Given that there are halachic issues with each of the approaches listed, at least according to some authorities, one person’s loophole is another’s preferred approach.

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